Construction equipment manufacturer Kobelco Construction Machinery (KCM), and global cranes and lifting solutions manufacturer Manitowoc, have announced that they will not renew their original equipment manufacturer supply agreement.
Under an Original equipment manufacturers (OEM) supply agreement, which began in November 2003, Kobelco Construction Machinery (KCM) supplied Manitowoc-branded lattice-boom crawler crane models to Manitowoc’s worldwide distribution network, while Manitowoc supplied Kobelco-branded all-terrain crane models for marketing in Japan.
With the market environment changing over the past few years, KCM and Manitowoc have been re-examining the agreement and discussing the future of their global alliance. Looking ahead at the future market conditions, the companies have mutually decided to operate their businesses on their own.
“Manitowoc has an outstanding reputation around the world and offered a strong distribution network in regions it serves globally, and I can say that our partnership has been a very successful in bringing together two highly respected industry players,” said Kazuhide Naraki, president and CEO of KCM.
“I strongly feel that both companies share the same approach – focusing on customers with care and bringing to market reliable products, which have a high standard of quality and safety. We look forward to a new chapter in growing our businesses globally.”
Barry Pennypacker, president and CEO of Manitowoc seconds the sentiment, saying Kobelco had been an excellent partner over the years and has provided their customers with a high standard of product quality and reliability.
“As a world leader in lattice-boom crawler cranes, Manitowoc provided our customers with a comprehensive line through our alliance with KCM,” Pennypacker said. “After nearly 15 years, we have agreed to pursue separate ways developing our own products in the smaller capacity cranes to serve our respective customers.
“With the implementation of The Manitowoc Way, we will continue to deliver new and innovative quality products, on time, ensuring that our customers continue to have the right product offerings.”
Australian Crane & Machinery (ACM) has been Australia’s sole exclusive dealer since 2004, and according to its Kobelco crane division manager Justin Potter, it’s been a mutually agreed end to the global alliance, but they are looking forward to the future and continuing its relationship with Kobelco.
“We are really happy to continue with Kobelco going forward, and we will always look after all Kobelco manufactured products, past and present,” Potter said.
“We already re-signed our agreement with them earlier this year, so we will remain the sole exclusive dealership for Kobelco in the country. We have been their exclusive dealer since 2004, and we’ll continue to offer the best service and backup support for all of our customers.
“Kobelco cranes are renowned throughout the world for their reliability, ease of operation, product support and after sales backup. They are very durable and versatile with good lifting charts throughout all working ranges, are engineered for safe and rapid assembly and disassembly, and are suitable for rapid transportability.
“We manufacture a very reliable, and I’d argue, the world’s best crawler crane in its range, and I personally feel that Manitowoc will be at a loss not having an OEM agreement with Kobelco.
“We will continue to hold our market share in that range worldwide, especially here in Australia and NZ, as they are very much the most preferred model. We currently have around 80-85 per cent of the market share.”
Despite the global alliance ending on November 9, 2018, Kobelco and Manitowoc will continue to support each other’s existing customers and will continue to offer service parts for the next 10 years.
ACM will continue to support and supply service and genuine spare parts for all Kobelco manufactured products, past and present, within Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and other Oceanic regions.
“It will be business as usual, and we will still supply spare parts for Manitowoc customers. They will continue receive great service and backup support from very experienced ACM team,” Potter said.
“Looking towards the Oceanic market, although the crane and construction industries were in a bit of a downturn over the past few years, things are starting to come back very strongly, so there is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not a train.
“There is a lot of infrastructure work within major capital cities like Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, as well as a lot more investment in renewable energies. The coal and iron ore prices are starting to come back up too. I think that we are on our way to another boom period, which really started to kick off this year, and I believe will continue.”